Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Ops and Ops again

On Tuesday I planned to drive to a remote work site to do some work on the computers there, its a long drive about 85-90 miles round trip all on highways. I made the trip once before in MINI E #304 and was looking forward to driving it on a long trip again. But when I went out to the Garage I found #304 unplugged and with only a 70% charge, Ops I'd forgotten to plug it in last night.

I figured I had an hour to spare so I plugged it in and waited, hoping that the 40A charger would be quick, but when I checked back it was only at 80% not nearly enough charge for the trip. So I took the Gas burner, my Z3 which I hadnt driven in a month. On the way I kept thinking the 40A charger should have charged the car more, an I wondered if I had the cars Amperage set correctly. Sure enough when I got back and checked it the car was set to 12A not 32A, Ops again.

It must have been set to 12A for a week and I never noticed, 12A at 240v is faster then at 110V but not as fast as at 32A. While forgetting to plug in the car is a problem I'm guessing all electric car owners will have now and then, I dont think setting the correct amperage on the car should be as tricky as it is with the MINI E. First I think the car could tell you the Amperage its drawing while charging on the display, as it is you just dont know unless you click through a bunch of menues maybe 10 or so short and long clicks on the selecter switch, a very clunky system. But more useful would be if the plug you connected the car to told the car what amperage to use, it seems to me a very simple thing to have a RFID chip in the plug that the car could read. While we are on the subject of the plugs, I dont like the current ones MINI chose to use for this project, they have tiny wires inside of them that look like they could easily brake from heavy use, and I cant see this as a good plug to use in a public place like a Mall as there is no locking mechanism, I can just imagine kids going down a line of EV's plugged in at a charging site and unplugging them all.

7 comments:

  1. Hi Robert! I have Mini E #250 and I definitely agree about the need for a display for the amperage setting. You can easily have it set incorrectly especially coming back from service as I did. Also, the charger should display the current charge %. The way it is now, you have to get in the car and put the key in to check the charge level. I think it should be displayed all the time while you are charging for you to check in you want. I love the blog, and frequently visit here. You and the others inspired me to start my own Mini e blog and I linked your blog to it. Mine is at: http://minie250.blogspot.com/ so please link it to yours also if you would like. Keep up the great work! Tom

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  2. Interesting how the bloom is off for a lot of you MINIE'rs. Still like the car?

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  3. Tom,
    I've added your blog to my site, have fun with it, I'm enjoying expressing my opinions on a subject I enjoy.

    RB,
    I still LOVE the car. Its so much fun to drive electric, but it has some minor issues that should be addressed before it is mass marketed.

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  4. Would have to agree, as it seems rather ill planned by BMW/MINI? I love my 2004 MCS but mu 2002 was a nitemare. Also, the unevenness in lease payments and lack consumer info on the possible charger electrical costs is rather baffling to say the least.

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  5. Hey Robert,
    Thanks again for the overview and ride in your Mini-E. Truly amazing technology. I am still overwhelmed at the "coolness" of your car and real world test.
    Your neighbor,
    Roger

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  6. Roger,
    Was fun for me to show it off, and answer your great questions, If you want to drive it sometime just stop by.

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  7. The standard from The Society of Automotive Engineers (J1772) provides for the charge interface box to tell the car what current level is available. I suspect that Mini just didn't get around to it. Prototypes are like that. I have made the mistake with #458 a couple times. No big deal.

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